I have been a life long soldier in the fight to find common ground, subconsciously trudging in other’s boots, or attempting to drive through the bends and breaks in the road that led them where they are today before I make judgement. But I am struggling ya’ll. My heart feels flipped inside out over what has occurred in our country over the past week.
By Wednesday afternoon I was such a mess I decided I had to just give in to what ever this was that had a hold on me. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was…anger? confusion? sadness? Because of my extensive experience with loss, I eventually recognized the feeling to be grief. I actually laughed at the thought that what I was feeling was grief. I mean how dramatic. But after awhile, I couldn’t deny that familiar sadness in my gut I know to exist when I have lost someone or something I love. I gave myself a pass to just feel whatever the fuck I was feeling on Wednesday, and knew that the following day I’d pull myself up by the bootstraps and carry on.
That plan didn’t play out the way I had imagined. I sit here almost a week later, heart still hurting, fear still lingering.
I heard a radio dj say the morning after the election that because he is not a female, and because he is not a minority, and because he is not a member of the LGBT community he is ok with the decision. He feels ok about it because it doesn’t directly effect him. He said this while sitting next to his partner of the morning radio show who is female and gay. They have worked together on this show for years and often talk about how much they value each other. I felt such a pain in my heart when I heard him say that.
He was sitting right next to a person that he claims to love and said what happens to her has no bearing on his life. If she has to live in a world where she doesn’t have control of her body, if it is ok for it to be used as an object only for the pleasure of another person, even without her consent, that’s ok with him because, hey, it’s not me. If her life is uprooted because her marriage, the family she has built with her wife and son is ripped out from underneath her then that’s just fine, because it isn’t his wife and kid.
When did we become such a calloused culture?
If I heard about a car salesman who will get me the best deal I could imagine, who orchestrated a financial success story with his bare hands, but was a man that bragged about sexually assaulting women and openly expressed racist, homophobic, xenophobic views, I would not go to that man to buy a new car. I don’t care how much money he could save me. I would not say yeah he’s a horrible human being but I mean, he’s a great business man so I choose him. I can’t sacrifice my values for a dollar.
It comes down to being honest.
Trump has claimed he wants to “fix” the broken mental health system. He preaches that in his first 100 days, he will create a plan to put more services in place to treat those with severe mental illness. He scapegoats a population of people to ignore the real issues behind gun violence in this country. He promises he’ll create programs to address the cracks in the system, but he refuses to admit that the Obama administration has already made significant strides in this area. Systems that help identify higher risk individuals and connect them to services like care management (what I do!), so they have someone to reach out to for help when issues like housing, connecting to doctors and therapists, or barriers in the way of accomplishing their goals arise.
If Trump repeals what has now become known as Obamacare, he is cutting the kind of services he is promising to create. Trump’s stance on government’s role is loud and clear…the smaller the better. So if government is to no longer have the funding necessary to create programs to help our most vulnerable populations, who will? The private sector? I don’t think so. There isn’t much profit in giving of oneself. The agencies that do the best work are non-for-profit for a reason. Money cannot be a motivator. Because the cash flows heaviest when playing off of people’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses, not in the effort to help repair them. This election has re-taught us that lesson.
Trump preaches about using his financial genius to change governmental practices that he himself took full advantage of. What in the hell makes someone think that his priority is going to be closing those loop holes that have allowed him to support the kind of life he has grown accustomed to living. I hear people ask well who wouldn’t take advantage? A lot of people. A lot of hard working, compassionate people with a conscious, that’s who.
It comes down to character.
I have worked in the mental health field for the last decade. I have helped a lot of people go through the motions of applying for and being awarded social security disability benefits. “These people” are often referred to as leeches sucking on the tit of society with their free money and all. Through the process of helping those that geniuenly need it, I know that a person can create a paper trail and manipulate the system. It happens. So then am I entitled to use that knowledge to get a check in my hand every month? No. Why? Because it’s dishonest. Because it’s bad character. Because it would take away from someone else that really could use a break. The only different between taking advantage of the loop holes in the government welfare systems and taking advantage of the loop holes in the government tax systems is one is justified as smart and the other as fraud, manipulation, wrong doing, even criminal – as both really are.
As overcome as I am about the election results, I am just as much or more saddened by the assumption that I am accusing all Trump supporters of being racist or vile individuals. Those people do exist, and some have even just recently been revealed to me, but that doesn’t mean I am slapping a label on every person I know that voted for him. Part of my confusion and unrest is due to knowing the hearts of people that support him — tender, caring, intelligent hearts that have never consciously hurt another person. Hearts that go out of their way to defend others and help build people up.
I’m confused and fearful that these same people are now defending principles that go against their own actions, but rationalizing it because it’s the kind of “change” we need to make America great again. Women that would never tolerate their children talking the way Trump does, that lead by example when teaching lessons of love, acceptance and equality are rationalizing his message based on saving a dollar. I don’t assume these people’s hearts are now jaded and ruthless. It’s because I know this about them that I am still walking around stunned that they would choose to put a man of Trumps character in a position of power, and continue to defend him until red in the face.
It’s about the message we are sending.
My daughter was particularly interested in this election because she heard so many adults talking about it. She is an inquisitive child and asked many questions, including who are you voting for Mommy and why. I was gentle with my convictions and only spoke of reasons I chose not to vote for Trump based on ideas that I could back up. I didn’t tell my daughter that I think Trump is a self absorbed pig, instead I revealed to her his stated beliefs that women should not be in control of their own bodies, that he believes that because of money and power, he has the right to take advantage of women. That he makes broad, dangerous assumptions that certain groups of people are dangerous because of their skin color or where they come from. That he believes he can “fix” this country because he is a business man despite his numerous failures to run a business successfully, and manipulated many people on his rise to the top.
My daughter is an old, quite reasonable soul. So when she woke up on Wednesday morning and asked me who won, and I had to look her in the eyes and say Trump, I could see the confusion fall over her. I could sense the message sent to her that she was trying to process. She was bummed that she didn’t get to celebrate the first woman elected president but more so, she was confused that people would choose a man that went against the values that her mother has instilled in her since they day the chord was cut.
It comes down to personal responsibility.
I don’t believe that it was Trump’s intention to open Pandora’s box and permit citizens of this country to draw lines in their dorm rooms separating space based soley on the color of their roommates skin. I don’t believe he asked that guy driving his truck down Broadway in Saratoga Springs to attach a large Nazi flag to his truck and wave it proudly, nor did he ask people to intimidate others to the point that a woman would shy away from holding her girlfriend’s hand in public for fear of the reaction of others. But that is exactly what has happened.
Personal responsibility is something I preach on the daily and I don’t fault Trump for these and many other people’s disgusting reactions; however, he chose to send a message of entitlement through out his campaign that initiated this. He is responsible for opening the lid and permitting people to feel justified in spilling their hateful speech whenever and where ever they choose, because that is the example he set.
And this is the part where my bleeding heart explodes…
You can go ahead and call me a delusional bleeding heart, illogical elitist, libtard or any other derogatory language you choose to describe someone with conviction for the better of we, not just I. In fact, please do. I have zero fucks to give if I am viewed as a woman who doesn’t understand the reality of ‘everyone for himself.’ It is 20-fricken-16…don’t bring blatant hate to my front door and tell me you’re just calling it like you see it. No, sir. Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow.
I was born a fighter. I had to come out swingin’ to survive the shit shows I’ve lived through. I know the only way to get through a storm is to stand right in the middle of it. So I will plant my feet, and hold the fuck on with the rest of my army. And I will continue to reach out my hand to any one that is feeling like they have no fight left in them right now. As a Woman, a Mother, an American, as a fucking Human Being I will continue working to break dysfunctional, generational cycles that use fear to fuel change. No one person holds any higher value than anyone else. Once that can be agreed upon, then maybe we can start meeting each other half way.